Anna’s Brooklyn Supermarket Adventures: Sheepshead Bay, Q Train »
Ladies and germs! Jelly-jars and pickled calves’ brains! Lucid fellows and damselflies! Hello, one and all. I invite you, implore you, invoke you to follow me on my MAGICAL ADVENTURES!!
This is the first of a series of posts chronicling Awesome Supermarkets in Brooklyn (and maybe other places). Vast places, rich with eggplant and pineapple and odd varieties of jam! Strange places, with languages that you cannot read! Sometimes even grisly places with strange squiggly meat-parts! But mostly… CHEAP PLACES.
Stay close, bold vegans, under my Whisking Cloak, as I transport you first to Sheepshead Bay. It’s one of the last stops on the Q train, and the population seems to be mostly Russian and Chinese. Lots of little old ladies in fur coats. But don’t get mad at them, they’re little and old and Russian.
(The lady pictured is neither little, old, nor me. I don’t know if she’s Russian or not.)
When you get off the train, a plum of a supermarket is hiding next to the CVS, at 1414 Sheepsheadbay Rd. It is camouflaged, like a secret beehive. Draw closer, dear vegan, and enter the Outer Chamber of Mostly Overpriced Produce. There are baskets hanging from the ceiling, and fake vines! Press onward!
The actual store, Global Wholesale Market, is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
CHEAP/AWESOME: tea, bread, beer, chocolate, pickled things in jars
Russian supermarkets are good for the winter, or bunkers, or hunkering down. They’re good wartime food. They’re rations, like chocolate and nuts and pickles and jam. The produce isn’t always great, but dollars to doughnuts the bread/tea/chocolate selection is ace.
This Russian supermarket, like some others, induces glee solely through the cheeriness of its displays. A wall of Finn crispbread! A sale on Borscht! Chocolate boxes as big as your torso!
If you poke around a bit, you will find not just huge candy-boxes, but an aisle full of chocolate bars. And many are vegan! And hella cheap! (There are often English translations on the back.)
This chocolate bar is as long as my forearm. Its title is “airated rum chocolate”. Yes, it is flavored like rum. It is vegan, and about $2.
Most tea is under three dollars, and comes in surprising incarnations.
That’s nearly it for pictures, except this weird beer! Just ignore the freeze-dried fish in baskets near the floor.
Oh man, I wish I could show you all the rows upon rows of bread! Squishy whole-wheat with seeds, round nutty loaves, so many kinds of pumpernickel, gigantic round bagels, baguettes, bread so dark and dense it was positively dangerous.
But they cottoned on to my camera and asked me to stop taking photos! And rather than sneaking around, I felt bad, and obeyed. Which is too bad, because the bread and the Things in Jars were completely awesome to behold.
More supermarkets, photos, and neighborhoods to come
Review: Gardein Buffalo Wings! »
Because I’m Canadian, I got in on the Gardein craze a little before most of you Yankees, as the Great White North had that shizz a full year or more before the US of A. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I know my stuff when it comes to pea-protein-based fake meat, so let me lay on you my review of Gardein’s latest oeuvre, Buffalo Wings!
There are a couple schools of thought when it comes to vegan “wings:” there’s the breaded school (crunchy breading covered with hot sauce) and the not-breaded school. Gardein’s wings are of the not-breaded variety. They are, rather, wing-sized nuggets of Gardein’s magic “chicken” substance covered with a bright red (so you know they’re Buffalo wings) spicy sauce. They come frozen and in a little pouch with the sauce already on, which brings me to my first quibble—you need a microwave to get these out of the pouch and onto the baking sheet in a dignified way. If, like me, you live in a microwave-free household, you have to do what I did and pry those frozen little things apart with your bare hands, which kind of sucks. I mean, it’s hardly a dealbreaker, but you don’t want to do it while wearing a white shirt is all I’m saying.
Once you manage to get them on the baking sheet, though, it’s full speed ahead. The wings bake for about 15 minutes, and then you eat them. First things first: spicy alert! Like I said, I am Canadian, and I’m not terribly heat-tolerant, but these things have a kick! Don’t eat them if you have a bleeding ulcer! Personally, I like a touch more sweetness with my wing sauce, but Gardein’s Buffalo sauce does hit the spot. The wings themselves are satisfying and chewy and pleasantly stringy so that they get ever-so-slightly stuck in your teeth. Floss after eating if you have a date later! Serve with vegan ranch if you have it. I love me some vegan ranch and think that any way I can get it into my mouth is a-OK. I ate a whole package of these by myself for lunch (well, I guess I also ate three pickles with them, but since the nutritional value of pickles is “salt,” I don’t count them), which means I ate 2.5 servings, or 10 pieces. At around $4.50 per package, these ain’t no 10-cent wings, that’s for sure, but they’re certainly cheaper than the napalm-coated wings at Weird Fish (which I love, but they are too spicy). All in all, these are some tasty, reasonably-priced, and surprisingly healthy (not that I endorse counting calories at all, but these are pretty low-calorie, soy-free, and low-fat). Perfect for a night in, and, I suspect, highly compatible with beer.
These things are available in the freezer section at Rainbow and at some Bay Area Whole Foods, and if I know Gardein’s marketing and distribution people, I’m sure they’ll be widely available soon, if they aren’t already.
Product Review: Rising Moon Organics Vegan Gnocchi! »
These gooey, delicious pillows of pasta from Rising Moon Organics are totally vegan! HUZZAH! I’m obsessed with this stuff. It cooks in an easy five minutes and makes a filling meal. And check it out, zero grams of fat and three grams of fiber per serving—shweet!
I’ve tried Rising Moon raviolis in the past and I didn’t like them that much. I think it had more to do with freezer burn than anything else, but they just didn’t come out that great.
The gnocchi, though, it cooks perfectly. If you don’t like doughy food, you won’t like this, but if you are a gnocchi-loving vegan like me, this will hit the spot (don’t be a perv!). Plus, you get to make gnocchi jokes. Or you can sing that song, “another season, another reason, for making gnocchi.” A classic.
BONUS! Some fun facts from their FAQ section:
"Gnocchi is the Italian word for dumplings; in Italian, gnocchi is the plural of gnocco, which literally means ‘lump.’ They can be made of potato, semolina (durum wheat), flour, or [icky] ricotta cheese."
You can buy Rising Moon at a fine grocery store near you or you can order them delivered right to your door!
shopping vegan at the 99 Cent Only store (read: being broke AND awesome) »
I love the 99¢ Only chain. I mean, it’s dirty, has hella long lines, and may be actively displacing the people of West Oakland, but shit. 99 CENTS ONLY!
If you can look beyond the box of frozen sausage marinara for kids and neon green “less than 2% avocado” guacamole, you’ll find a veganic wonderland of expired goods and opportunity. The West Oakland branch (across the street from BART!) carries those delicious cartons of Imagine Organic No-Chicken Broth (four bucks at health food stores!), half moldy lemons and Smart Balance Light (regular Smart Balance has whey; these fuckers want to keep vegans skinny). They’ve got every necessary condiment aside from Vegenaise, those two Top Ramen flavors that are vegan (though the MSG headache still remains), soymilk (with high fructose corn syrup!), ricemilk (without high fructose corn syrup!), some obscure brand of soy chorizo, and gigantic bags of kettle corn.
Don’t forget the refried beans that taste like nothing (no lard! Yay!), totally ripe avocados, chipotle salsa (they call is “sauce” here but it’s the best!), corn tortillas seemingly made for Daiya quesadillas, almost attractive produce (you only need it for a one night stand!), and the light of my life:
Nacho cheese flavored sunflower seeds!
So rather than speculating as to why this synthetic nacho cheese powder is vegan, or asking yourself whether its ethical to consume metaphorical dairy products, I suggest one personal inquiry: “should I crack open the shell, or just chew ‘em up?”
Additionally, the 99 Cent Only store carries laser pens. This is the best way to play with cats ever. 99 cents!
[Ed.: Bryan May is new to Vegansaurus, and you’re gonna fucking love this guy. He grew up between christian rock and a hard place, but middle school found Crass, and all those forward thinking punx led him to coming out as a vegan to mom in 9th grade. It went well. He lives in the Westest of the Oaklands and is interested in making zines, taking pictures, child development, and trying to keep the company of cats (especially those with disabilities). He bleeds garlic and sweats nutritional yeast.]
Recipe: Beer Bread made with Pumpkin Ale! YES YES YES »
This is the easiest, best thing ever to make. You’ll want to never eat anything else. Slather it with Earth Balance, make sandwiches with it, swallow the loaf whole (dang! you’re talented!) or whatever. Just eat it immediately. Also, it’s super cheap to make and will sustain you for days. I mean, in addition to other things, Anorexic Annie.
All you need is:
a box of Trader Joe’s Beer Bread Mix.
a bottle of Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (In the SF Bay Area, you can find it at Whole Foods right now!)
1/4 cup melted Earth Balance (use organic, if you can! it’s better for the world!)
a little pumpkin pie spice or garam masala.
All you do is put the TJ’s Beer Bread Mix in a bowl. Stir in the Punkin Ale. Put the dough in a bread pan. Top with the melted Earth Balance. Sprinkle on the pumpkin pie spice or garam masala. Bake according to the package directions. Eat it all, be fat and happy. THE END YOU’RE WELCOME.
That’s where you’re wrong, Noe Valley Whole Foods. Other than that blatant lie, it’s adorable! Even getting some tofu paella for dinner! Way to turn it out, Baby Valley Whole Paycheck! (har de har har)
Ted’s Market! »
It’s all well and good that we have restaurants like Herbivore and Cha-Ya, fine all-vegan establishments that they are. But vegans don’t have to be ghettoized, consigned to eat only with our own kind in where places no gung-ho carnivore would set foot*. Sometimes vegan options turn up in the most unexpected places. It’s like finding Incan gold** (um, except without the genocide).
Ted’s Market is a corner store deli (but not on the corner, go figure) with your usual array of sandwich fixings. The real reason to come here, though, is the vegan salami sandwich. Get one with avocado, hold the cheese & mayo, and delight in the fact that you can enjoy your neighborhood deli just like the “normals”***. I’m not saying Ted’s can hold a candle to Ike’s Place, but it’s a nice alternative when you can’t make it all the way to the Castro, say. Moreover, Ted’s proves the point that a business can make small concessions like this to vegans without bending over backwards, and everybody ends up happier. Except for those of us who show up after 5:00, when the deli counter closes.
The website notes that, “there is one vegetarian/vegan soup offered daily (subject to cook’s temperamant.[sic]” Love this for many reasons: sassy cook, sassy website, sassy spelling! Bring us the sass, Ted! Oh, they also have vegan chili! Get that when you’ve had your wisdom teeth out like me and can’t eat hard foods. In fact, I am very pathetic right now. Send me ice cream. And money. Mainly money, seems to be the only cure for this HORRIBLE HORRIBLE PAIN.
*Although, it must be noted that many gung-ho carnivores go apeshit for places like Cha-Ya that don’t offer any fake meat because they feel the food is more pure and vegans should just eat vegetables and wheatgrass. These people are ASSHOLES. I don’t eat meat not because it doesn’t taste good, but because I don’t want to contribute to the destruction of the earth and its inhabitants, ASSHOLE.
**That’s today’s history lesson, Sherman!
***normals = ASSHOLES!
I can’t, my mouth is full!